Giva Blog
Stay in Touch with Giva's News & Updates

IT Change Control Process: How To Start

The current business climate of fast paced change requires IT service providers to deliver products and services at a justifiable cost without negative impacts to the infrastructure and end user. To compete in the global marketplace, IT service professionals are required to manage their infrastructure using an end to end holistic approach to deliver reliable service on a consistent basis.

Many organizations of all industries have implemented ITIL to effectively compete. Of the multiple ITIL processes, Change Management is considered difficult to implement but often shows the greatest return on investment. This paper will address the following six questions in detail to aid IT practitioners in their Change Management planning and implementation process.

· How to start a Change Advisory Board?

· Is a tool required before we can start?

· Do we need a Change Coordinator?

· What metrics should be created?

· How do we involve the business customers in the process?

· How do we initiate a post-implementation review process?

 

The ITIL Concept

IT service providers, particular in the United States, have struggled for years to prove to its internal and external customers the value of "what we do." ITIL, or The Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a set of books outlining the most widely accepted best practice approach to IT Service Management in the world. This framework, developed from the international private and public sector, (OGC) Office of Government Commerce, U.K. and with collaboration from it SMF (Information Technology Service Management Forum), aides IT service providers in planning consistent, documented, and repeatable processes that improve service delivery to the business.

Our first order of business was to change the name of our "Help Desk" to "Service Desk" which within the ITIL framework becomes the single point of contact between the business customer and the service provider providing advice, guidance, and quick restoration of service. With the single point of contact concept, customer service is a consistent and repeatable method for service, as the staff should have strong technical skills, business savvy, and a service-based orientation. Additionally, customer problems can be logged and trended to provide valuable information to the business.

The next step was to implement Incident Management, which is the rapid restoration of normal services to limit the negative impact to the business. The ITIL definition of an incident is "Any event which is not part of the standard operation of a service and which causes, or may cause, an interruption to, or a reduction in, the quality of that service." This process helped move IT from a "hero" culture to one of a proactive, service based culture. We built a formal Incident Management process and the benefits are numerous. Once we established a formal Incident Management process we were ready to focus on Change Management, which is one of the most visible of the ITIL processes.

Change Management is the process of planning, coordinating, monitoring and communicating changes affecting production. Change Management ensures that standard methods and procedures are used for the efficient and prompt handling of all changes in order to minimize the impact of change related incidents and improve day-to-day operations. We will discuss Change Management in more detail later.

Configuration Management is considered the most challenging and time consuming process to successfully implement. Configuration Management is the process in which IT components are identified, logged and reported on and it provides significant benefits to any IT organization. In many companies, Configuration Management is considered the "foundation" of the ITIL processes.

Release Management's goal is to take a high level look at IT change and make certain that all the technical and non-technical details are considered and well thought out. A release is a collection of approved changes that may consist of multiple fixes or enhancements. Release comes in multiple types including Delta, Full and Package. Other components of Release include the Definitive Hardware Store, which is isolated and secure storage of hardware spares. Another component is the Definitive Software Library, which is a repository of master electronic copies of software and their respective license documents.

Service Level Management is the process whereby the IT service provider and customer define, negotiate, agree and monitor levels of service. The goal is to maintain and improve IT service quality in order to meet the customers' business related objectives. We have implemented components of Service Level Management and established key roles within the organization to continue to build on its success. The Account Manager is a pivotal role in educating the customer on the value of IT and negotiates the levels of service and pricing of the service offerings. Also, our Account Managers serve on our Change Advisory Board as non-voting members.

Change Management Questions

How to start a Change Advisory Board?

First you need to determine who needs to attend the CAB meetings. Who are the key stakeholders? Once you determine "who" should attend then you can determine whether or not they need to attend every CAB meeting or only those meetings in which their area of expertise is required. Also, you should ask yourself if the meetings would be open to everyone or only those who are involved in or impacted by the change.

Next, determine how often and when the board will meet. Will it be weekly, monthly, or only as needed? How will change control be maintained if you meet less than weekly? What are the possible consequences of this decision? Regardless of how often you decide to have your CAB meeting, you should have it at the same time and on the same weekday to maintain consistency. Other meetings should not be allowed to book over CAB meetings nor should CAB meetings be cancelled, if possible.

When there are Emergency changes will they go before an Emergency CAB? If so, who are those CAB members? Who determines if an Emergency CAB meeting is or isn't needed? What types of changes are considered emergencies? What needs to be completed to get an emergency approval? What are the procedures for an Emergency change during non-work hours?

Before you plan your first meeting, you will want to determine the meeting format. Will the meetings be in person, via telephone or a combination of the two? If the meetings will be held via telephone, check with your Telecom department to determine if they are any potential issues you may encounter or are unaware of? If you decide to use a combination of these formats, how will you ensure everyone's concerns and votes are registered?

Prior to the first "official" CAB meeting, you will want to bring the CAB members together to go over their roles, responsibilities, and meeting expectations. This will also give the Change Coordinator the opportunity to poll the CAB on policies and procedures. The CAB needs to determine what will constitute a quorum, what types of changes does the board want to approve? What types of changes is the Change Coordinator empowered to approve? Will CAB members have delegates? If so, what are the expectations for delegates? Will there be an Executive CAB? If so, who and when will changes be escalated to them for resolution? The Change Coordinator can also use this time to go over some of the documentation the CAB will be working with: Weekly Change Agenda, Forward Schedule of Changes and the Change Management reports.

Prior to the first CAB meeting the Change Coordinator will need to create and publish the Change Agenda and Forward Schedule of Change. CAB members will use this information to research and discuss changes on the agenda with their staff prior to the CAB meeting. Any issues encountered should be resolved preceding the CAB meeting to allow time for thoughtful discussions during the meeting.

Make sure your CAB meetings start and end on time and that all needed information is available. During the actual CAB meeting, keep the pace steady as you move through each change, this will allow ample time for discussion when needed. Most importantly, ensure you do a "reality check" at least once a month to ensure the meetings are still providing value for the members and see if there are areas for improvement.

The meetings need to have a facilitator, usually the Change Management Coordinator and a scribe to ensure the meeting flows freely and is accurately documented.

Is a Tool Required before we can begin?

As long as there is a consistent, documented, repeatable process you do not need a formalized tool for Change Management process to work. A basic Change Management system could involve Change Implementers filling out a paper form which outlines their change and the implementation plans. The change information could be routed to the Change Coordinator who would then maintain and file the information. All changes would need to be communicated throughout the IT organization and to the customers if they will be impacted; this could be accomplished via email. For smaller organizations, it is possible to implement Change Management with paper forms and email; a centralized access database that would enable everyone to input their change information or a combination of those tools. If you already have or will be implementing Incident Management, Problem Management or Release Management, you will want to ensure there is a way to cross reference the tickets.

Do we need a Change Coordinator?

In order for the Change Management process to be successful, you need a dedicated process owner who is responsible for administrating and monitoring the change process. The Change Coordinator ensures that all changes are recorded, scheduled, and that all parties involved with the change have the information that is needed for the change to progress through the process.

The Change Coordinator Responsibilities include:

· Review and update the Change Management process, as needed.

· Analyze change data and communicate to management potential exposures.

· Review all change requests to ensure completeness, accuracy, and clarity of information.

· Review the request for compliance to Change Management procedures.

· Prepare and distribute meeting information and complete change requests to the Change Advisory Board for business impact, priority and change readiness review.

· Facilitate Change Advisory Board meetings with Change Advisory Board personnel.

· Prevent potential conflict by maintaining a change schedule or calendar.

· Add the request to the schedule for change activity.

· Ensure changes are approved prior to implementation.

· Attempt to resolve change conflicts and escalate to management as necessary.

· Publishing change control meeting notes and helping communicate changes to appropriate technology and user groups.

· Ensure that only authorized changes are implemented, that changes are implemented in an acceptable time frame in accordance with business requirements, that changes are successful, and that no new incidents are created as a result of a change.

· Conduct Post Implementation Reviews.

· Assist departments in the change process.

· Coordinate and distribute Change Management reports and measurements.

· Provide education as needed.

What Metrics should be created?

Change Management provides ample opportunities for capturing metrics that will communicate the benefits and quantify the process for management and customers.

Some of those metrics include:

1. How many Request For Changes have been opened?

2. How many Changes were withdrawn?

3. How many Changes did the CAB deny?

4. How many successful changes were there?

5. How many unsuccessful changes?

6. How many changes were backed out and why?

7. If a change was backed out, what was the impact to the customer?

8. How many incidents have been related to changes?

9. How many post implementation reviews have been completed?

10. How many Emergency changes were there? What is the percentage?

11. How many changes were considered major, medium or minor? What is the percentage?

12. How many changes indicate which configuration item was affected?

13. Which configuration items are continually changing?

14. How many changes are pending other workgroups signoff or approval?

15. How many outstanding RFCs are there? Why are they still pending?

16. Does the RFC contain all relevant and required information? If not, was it approved?

17. How many RFCs is each work group creating? Are they being actively managed?

How do we involve the business customer in the process?

For the Change Management process to be fully successful and reach maturity the customer needs to be involved in the process. Customers can be encouraged to attend the CAB meetings; however, if you have more than one customer, you need to ensure their information is kept confidential. The CAB meetings can be structured to ensure this by blocking out specific times for specific customers to attend the meetings. The customer should receive their companies Weekly Change Agenda and Forward Schedule of Changes prior to the meeting to ensure they have time to go over the changes with their personnel. Also, your customers should be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to attending the meeting. Keeping customers involved in the change process will ensure they are informed and aware of your efforts to manage change on their behalf.

How do we initiate a Post-Implementation Review?

The CAB needs to determine the types of questions they would like answered regarding successful and unsuccessful changes and it is not necessary to review every change.

A typical Post Implementation Review form includes the following:

· Description of Business Change

· What was the desired benefit of the change?

· Did the change meet the customer's expectations?

· What part of the change was successful and why?

· If there were problems, what were they and how were they remedied?

· Lessons Learned

New Cloud Product Release-Customer Service & Call Center

 

Giva® today announced a significant new cloud product release for the industry's first visual reporting tools for customer service and call center organizations. Real-time reports can be generated within seconds even with very high volumes of complex data sets, allowing managers to instantly identify emerging trends and patterns to facilitate better and faster decision-making. Most of the real-time visual reports run in ten seconds or less with visual representation of data and drill-down capability.

"We used to spend over 24 hours per month working with the reports in Salesforce.com® Service Cloud to extract data. With Giva, we spend about 15 minutes per month and the information quality is superior," said Chris Jerry, EDIMS Support Center Manager.

"The new Giva real-time reports make us 30% more productive and have dramatically decreased the amount of time required to generate and distribute quality reports to the executive team," said Chris Jerry, EDIMS Support Center Manager. "We used to spend over 24 hours per month working with the reports in Salesforce.com® Service Cloud to extract data. With Giva, we spend about 15 minutes per month generating customer service reports and the information quality is superior. Giva is the 'Apple Computer' of cloud customer service applications." [Click to download the case study.]

The new product release features full color, high contrast charts and graphs that allow for more graphically driven data presentation to better understand relationships between all the call center data. Metrics, business analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are now displayed with more graphs and charts and allow customer service and call center managers to better identify emerging problems, issues, trends and patterns so that systemic changes can be made.

This new product release significantly benefits customer service and call center organizations which like to focus on increasing first contact resolution, increasing customer satisfaction, decreasing call volume with root cause analysis and exceeding service level agreements (SLAs). Giva's visual reporting tools make identifying trends and patterns easier and quicker and with less time building, running, sharing and reviewing reports. Customer service managers can also finally measure differences in performance between individuals and teams with data driven objectivity to know who to reward, who to warn and who to terminate.

"Giva's reports now have significantly more visual aspects and new functionality with this new product release resulting in even faster and higher quality decision-making", said Ron Avignone, founder of Giva, Inc. "Our reports and dashboards are extremely easy to use and do not require a company "report guru" as with most competitive products."

Learn more by taking a tour of Giva's customer service/call center reports, charts and graphs or sign up for a 30 day trial of Giva.

About Giva:

Founded in 1999, Giva was among the first to provide a suite of help desk and customer service/call center applications architected for the cloud. Now, with hundreds of customer driven releases, the Giva Service Management™ Suite delivers an intuitive, easy-to-use design that can be deployed in just days and requires only one hour of training. Giva's robust, fast and painless reporting/analytics/KPIs quickly measure team productivity, responsiveness and customer satisfaction resulting in faster and higher quality decision-making. Customization and configuration are all point and click with no programming or consultants required to deliver a substantially lower total cost of ownership. Giva is a private company headquartered in Santa Clara, California serving delighted customers worldwide.

IT Support Position Interview Questions & Strategy

Use these selected questions to set job interview strategy

Our job interview questions fall into these categories:

· Preparation questions test what the candidate knows about your organization or the job you have advertised. Does the candidate meet the job's basic requirements?

· Behavioral questions encourage candidates to discuss at some length how they work, problems they have solved, and how they think.

· Problem-solving questions present candidates with a specific issue they need to resolve.

· Big-picture questions assess how the candidate views his or her role in your organization.

· Off-the-wall questions should be avoided.

Preparation questions

1. Tell me about your current job. What do you like about it? What do you dislike?

2. What operating system do you prefer and why? (The operating system is of minor importance, unless the job requires a thorough knowledge of it. Rather, this question probes general knowledge of operating systems and their relative merits.)

3. I know all these references are going to say nice things about you, or you wouldn't have listed them. Can you give me one that won't say good things about you? (You aren't going to call, but you want to see and hear is how they react.)

4. I would like to set up a second interview with our evening supervisor. Can you come back this evening at 7:00 P.M.? (How flexible is the candidate? How do they handle less-than-ideal situations? This question requires the possibility of a second interview with an evening supervisor.)

5. What do you know about our organization and what we do?

Behavioral questions

1. What's the biggest mistake you've made? How many people were affected by it? How did you find out about it? How did you recover and what did you learn?

2. Tell me about the most difficult IT problem you ever faced and how you handled it. In retrospect, would you handle it the same way now?

3. How do you stay informed about your profession? (This answer should go beyond daily duties. Do they have a test network at home? Do they read publications or visit IT Web sites?)

4. Tell me about your relationship with your current end users? (Is the candidate a people person? How does the candidate interact with others?)

5. Tell me about a time when you were working alone and needed to motivate yourself. What were the circumstances, and how did you do it?

Problem-solving questions

1. What precautions would you take before replacing a keyboard, hard drive, or network card? (This question should be altered to reflect the job description and skills.)

2. Ask the candidate to turn around so he or she can't see you. Then ask them to tell you how to tie your shoelaces using only vocal instructions. (Does the candidate ask if your shoes have shoelaces? Can they describe the process? This kind of question will help you test communications skills needed by help desk candidates who support remote users.)

3. Your network is experiencing periods of slow response, and you are asked to find a solution. What troubleshooting techniques would you use? Hardware or software solutions are okay, and budget is not an issue.

4. In many problem situations, it is tempting to jump to a conclusion in order to quickly build a solution. Describe a time when you resisted this temptation and thoroughly researched the problem before reaching a decision.

5. Write a paragraph explaining how DHCP (LANs, WANs, WEPs, whatever) works. (This question sounds like a technical question, but you will want to see how well the candidate communicates the technical information.)

Big-picture questions

1. What is the single most rewarding thing you have accomplished in your career, and why do you cite this above all your other accomplishments?

2. Describe for me a risk you have taken in your career and the results of the decision to take the risk. Would you do it again?

3. What role do you think computer support analysts should play in the company?

4. What special skills or knowledge can you bring to our organization? Why would this be valuable to us?

5. Within this organization or not, where do you see yourself, and your career, in five years?

Interview Questions - IT Help Desk/Customer Service Agent

Interview questions form:


Use these questions, or others from the accompanying potential interview questions list, to formulate your own
interview of job candidates for a support or help desk position. This form can also be modified to fit other job
categories. Use your version of this form for each candidate to ensure that the interview is fair and equitable.

TODAY'S DATE: ____/____/_____
CANDIDATE NAME: __________________________________________________________________
CONTACT INFORMATION: Address: _____________________________________________________
Telephone: ________________ (work)
________________ (home)
________________ (cell)
E-mail: ______________________________________________________
POSITION DESIRED: ____________________________________
SALARY RANGE DISCUSSED: $___________ to $____________
PROMISED RESPONSE DATE: ____/____/______
NEXT STEP: _________________________________________________________________________

Major qualifications in a nutshell
Use this section to document the candidate's individual qualifications or interesting experiences.
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

The questions
Modify these questions to fit your particular circumstances and requirements. After you have made notes about
the answer to each question, rate the candidate's response from 0 to 5. Then add up the TOTAL: ______
Tell me about your current job. What do you like about it? What do you dislike? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Interview questions
What operating system do you prefer and why? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

What precautions would you take before replacing a keyboard, hard drive, or network card?
0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

What's the biggest mistake you've made? How many were affected by it? How did you find
out about it? How did you recover, and what did you learn? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

What is the single most rewarding thing you have accomplished in your career, and why do
you cite this above all your other accomplishments? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Tell me about the most difficult IT problem you have faced and how you handled it. In
retrospect, would you handle it the same way now? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Describe for me a risk you have taken in your career and the results of the decision to take
the risk. Would you do it again? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

What role do you think computer support analysts should play in the company? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

I know all these references are going to say nice things about you, or you wouldn't have
listed them. Can you give me one that won't say good things about you? 0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Ask the candidate to turn around so he or she can't see you. Then ask him or her to tell you
how to tie your shoelaces using only vocal instructions. (This question can help you test
communications skills needed by candidates who support remote users by telephone.)
0 1 2 3 4 5
NOTES:__________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Webinar: Avoid Mistakes When Buying Software or Cloud Services

 

Giva® has announced a new webinar series on mistakes to avoid when buying any software or cloud services. Companies interested in purchasing software or cloud services (such as IT help desk or customer service solutions) encounter a myriad of problems and obstacles during the purchase process. Giva's webinar builds a foundation of understanding including all the internal issues to consider and well as the external process of engaging with vendors.

"We listened to many companies struggle with the purchase process and they asked us for our help. This webinar is a distillation of lessons learned over a decade," said Ron Avignone, founder of Giva, Inc.

The webinars provide practical "how to" advice to assist in becoming a more informed buyer and enable companies to make a more rigorous and objective comparison of vendors based upon a prioritized list of feature requirements. The webinar also provides education on how to lead the vendor qualification process with expertise and confidence. Effectively coaching a team on how to shortlist the right vendors for a rigorous vetting process is also discussed as well as insights about how to negotiate a better license agreement.

The webinar helps avoid mistakes that even the most experienced professionals make that cost a lot of time and money. Evaluation teams and senior executives making important business decisions can now approach the purchase of any software including IT help desk and customer service cloud services in a much more rigorous and analytical manner.

"Giva has literally worked with thousands of IT and customer service professionals since 1999," said Ron Avignone, founder of Giva, Inc. "We listened to many companies struggle with the purchase process and they asked us for our help. This webinar is a distillation of lessons learned over a decade. It provides practical answers and a 'how to' approach to overcoming all the challenges of purchasing any new software or cloud services."

This webinar series also has eight related whitepapers now available for download:

Click on the link to sign up for the IT Help Desk webinar or Customer Service webinar and read quotes from very satisfied attendees.

About Giva:

Founded in 1999, Giva was among the first companies to provide a suite of applications specifically architected for the public cloud. Now, with over a decade of refinements including thousands of enhancements, the Giva Service Management™ Suite is the most customer feedback driven cloud computing suite for the ITIL Help Desk, Customer Service/Call Center and Service Desk. Visual reporting, management dashboards and a radically intuitive service request design, make the Giva Service Management™ Suite highly differentiated from all other solutions. Customizations are all point and click with no programming or consulting necessary so Giva delivers a substantially lower total cost of ownership solution. Giva is a private company headquartered in Santa Clara, California serving delighted customers worldwide.

Implementing Customer Logging of Service Requests

Overhead Savings Told by the Volume


For every service request entered by a customer you have the potential to save two minutes and forty-nine
seconds! You say, "OK, but how about when a customer does not enter the correct information or is vague and
we have to call them back". This is a significant problem when they leave a voice mail or they send an email
because of the time lag between when they contact you and when you pick up the message or email. However,
with a Web submission there can be great savings in time. We need to assume that your problem management
system immediately and automatically notifies you of a Web submission and that you have good support
processes in place. My experience has been that when you immediately call the customer to thank them they
will still be at their desk. This is a very good practice to introduce this new process to your customers. They will
be surprised at your response and will gladly give you any clarifying information. It is also a great time for one-on-one training on how to submit the perfect service request.

 

How to Successfully Implement Customer Logging


1. Know your current state. You should first benchmark your current support center workload.
? Numbers of service requests by the various submit methods (by month).
? Length of time that it takes to document a single service request by submit method.
2. Develop a process for providing superior service to Web submissions.
3. Develop a marketing plan to encourage your customers to try out the Web.
4. Dedicate resources to processing Web submissions.
5. Track progress and report at least monthly.

Since we have already discussed methodology for determining current state, we will now discuss the other
requirements.


Develop a process for providing superior service to Web submissions. Ultimately, customers must feel that they are receiving better service when they submit via the web than any other way. I have interviewed hundreds of customers in many companies.


One of the questions that I ask is "what do you want from a support center?" Here are the most frequent
answers in the order of importance:
1. "I want someone to be there when I call."
2. "I want to know that they have heard me and that they understand my request."
3. "I want to be treated with respect."
4. "I want to have a knowledgeable person make sure that my request is resolved."
5. "I want to know when I can expect resolution."
If the support center cannot meet the customers' needs when they submit over the web, then they will not use it and go back to their old ways of wanting to use the phone.


There are two processes that I have witnessed that are critical success factors: (1) program the problem
management system so that it notifies the support center every time a new web submission arrives, (2) who ever takes the request should personally call the customer back immediately. I have seen this become a game for the support center. In the beginning, this is not a great burden. Remember that you are saving almost three minutes per web request. This call back has great success because almost 100% of the time the customer is there.

This addresses the first need the customer has as stated above ("I want someone to be there when I call.").

This will relieve a great fear that they are just submitting into a black hole and that no one will respond. The phone
conversation can go something like: "This is the support center calling and I wanted to thank you for using our
web service. I have your request here. Do you have a moment to go through it with me to make sure that I
understand it?" This addresses the second and third need (I want to be heard and treated with respect.). By
simply asking for clarification the customer is learning how to better document the next time. The support
person then can conclude by stating what is going to be done. On easy requests the customer could be told that
they have already resolved the issue or that they were working on it and it would be done in a few minutes. The
customer still gets a feeling of being taken care of (the need for a knowledgeable person to resolve it) when the
support center says that they have already sent the request off to the appropriate group and that they should
expect it to be resolved in a certain amount of time.

Market your new service to your customers


Your customers do not like to be surprised. When you make any changes in the way that you provide support,
let your customers know well in advance of the change. Three months is an adequate amount of lead time. A
well written email explaining the service and benefits to the customer is all that is required. Send it out three
months before, then two months before and then once a week before the launch date.
When marketing your new web service, make sure you stress that all your old services are still in effect. Make
sure that your customers know that they can still call you any time. In fact, you
want them to call you for all emergency (Severity 1 and 2) issues.


If you don't get this point across, then your customers may feel that this is another way that you are trying to
avoid talking to them. The point to stress is that you are adding a service (another way to submit a service
request) and not taking away a service.


Dedicate resources to web service

When you turn on the new web service, you need to be certain that you are ready for it. Web service requests
must be given priority. After phone calls, make sure that the web requests are quickly addressed. That might
mean that you don't answer your emails as fast. Make sure that the web service is covered throughout your
normal support hours. Several successful implementations have taken their staff that were on phones and
assigned them to handle the web requests when they came in. Since volume at the beginning was not great, this was an easy change. Later when the volume increased, they assigned staff to the web the same way that they assigned to the phones. One company found that they could only have a person on the web service for an hour at a time because of the stress in handling so many requests. Just be ready to dedicate resources in an organized manner.

Track web submission trends


It is important to know where you are spending your time. That is why I suggested that you start with a
benchmark from which to measure. You will probably find that initially those customers that usually sent
emails will switch to the web. Those that use to phone will eventually switch to the Web. Knowing the change
will help you adjust your scheduling of resources. Below is an actual chart of the initial phases of a web
implementation. Note that for the first six months there was a one-to-one correlation between the number of
web submissions and emails. After six months customers began shifting from phoning the support center to
submitting over the web.


Conclusion


The benefits to both the support center and to customers are significant when customers favor web submissions
over other forms of submitting service requests. In order to successfully convince customers to switch the
support center must have strong processes in place. The support center must also market the benefits to their
customers and be dedicated to providing superior service to those customers who submit web requests.

 

See http://www.givainc.com/wp/customer-web-self-service-logging-service-requests.htm to download whitepaper

Why Allow Customer Logging of Service Requests?

Why should customers log their service requests?

How can you prepare an economic analysis of the benefits?

There are many myths about letting customers into your problem management system. I often hear support
managers say that their customers won't take the time. "Our customers would rather call us than enter their
own calls." I also hear them say that their customers are not capable of entering the correct information and
support would just have to call the customer anyway." It is my experience from working with many companies,
that the perceptions do not fit reality. What I will try to do in this paper is to present the advantages to customer logging and tips to make it successful.

 

What is Customer Logging?


Only a few service event management systems available today have a customer interface into the system.
Usually these take the form of a web application. Whether client or web-based, the customer interface is
usually a much simpler version than the full-blown application. In all cases, the customer documents what their
problem or request is and submits their request receiving a confirmation and service event tracking number.
Some applications also allow the customer to enter their own severity level, pick the Nature of Request
category, attach an asset, and/or attached a document.

Advantages

24x7 Coverage for Customers
Most support organizations have limited coverage. A typical day may be 10 hours a day five days a week.
Who covers after hours and on the weekend? Often there is a duty person that has a pager for emergencies.
Without anyone manning the phones, your customers working late, or on weekends or from home cannot make
non-emergency requests. When you allow your customers to log their own requests, it is like having a 24x7
support desk without the expense.

Support Cost Savings
Support Front Line Logging Overhead
When I work with various companies, one measurement that I always ask for is the length of time that it takes
for the support front line to log the basic information into the problem management system. Most managers do
not know how long this takes so I take my stop watch and observe a number of entries. I find that on average it
takes about three minutes and nineteen seconds. This is only the basic information. This does not include any
diagnosis or resolution.

I timed phone call logging, voice mail logging, email logging, Fax and Web. Voice mail is by far the most
inefficient because the support agent usually has to replay the message several times to make sure that it is
recorded correctly. Emails usually can simply be cut and pasted. There have been a few support organizations
that take Fax requests. These are all manual and take the longest.
For the various submit methods I have also tried to measure how many times and the length of time customers
are called back because the information they provided is not sufficient. I have not been able to accurately
document this aspect, but the amount of time and effort is very significant once the game of phone tag begins.

Web-based Customer Logging Overhead


When the customer submits their own service request, there is still some overhead required by the support
center. They have to (1) verify customer name and location information, (2) read and understand the service
request documentation, (3) reclassify the Nature of Request, (4) verify the severity level, and (5) assign it to the
correct service group. My observation is that this overhead time takes less than thirty seconds and that includes
calling the customer to verify information or to just say thanks.

Fast Facts on US Hospitals

Giva has a strong focus on hospitals and healthcare organizations.

The American Hospital Association conducts an annual survey of hospitals in the United States. The definitive source for aggregate hospital data and trend analysis, AHA Hospital Statistics includes current and historical data on utilization, personnel, revenue, expenses, managed care contracts, community health indicators, physician models, and much more.


AHA Hospital Statistics is published annually by Health Forum, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. Additional details on AHA Hospital Statistics and other Health Forum data products are available at www.healthforum.com or click on www.ahaonlinestore.com

 

Total Number of All U.S. Registered * Hospitals
5,708
Number of U.S. Community ** Hospitals
4,897
Number of Nongovernment Not-for-Profit Community Hospitals
2,913
Number of Investor-Owned (For-Profit) Community Hospitals
873
Number of State and Local Government Community Hospitals
1,111
Number of Federal Government Hospitals
213
Number of Nonfederal Psychiatric Hospitals
444
Number of Nonfederal Long Term Care Hospitals
136
Number of Hospital Units of Institutions
(Prison Hospitals, College Infirmaries, Etc.)
18
Total Staffed Beds in All U.S. Registered* Hospitals
945,199
Staffed Beds in Community** Hospitals
800,892
Total Admissions in All U.S. Registered* Hospitals
37,120,387
Admissions in Community** Hospitals
35,345,986
Total Expenses for All U.S. Registered* Hospitals
$641,123,636,000
Expenses for Community** Hospitals
$583,252,288,000
Number of Rural Community** Hospitals
1,997
Number of Urban Community** Hospitals
2,900
Number of Community Hospitals in a System ***
2,730
Number of Community Hospitals in a Network ****

Questions to Ask When Buying Software or Cloud Services

Giva® has announced a series of white papers designed to reduce the complexity of the software or cloud buying process by providing forty penetrating questions to ask vendors to become a more informed buyer. Customers interested in purchasing any software or cloud services (for example, IT help desk or customer service) encounter a myriad of problems and obstacles during the purchase process. This white paper series teaches customers how to more quickly qualify and evaluate any software vendor.

"Penetrating questions are the most powerful way to uncover the truth. Those that can lead the questioning will have more influence in the relationship and set the tone," said Ron Avignone, founder of Giva, Inc.

These white papers provide practical "how to" advice to assist in becoming a more informed buyer. With the tools provided, companies can make a more rigorous and objective comparison of vendors. The white papers help avoid mistakes that even the most experienced professionals make that cost a lot of time and money. Evaluation teams and senior executives making important business decisions can now approach the purchase of any software (including IT help desk or customer service) or cloud services in a much more rigorous and analytical manner.

Some topics covered include:

  • What if my company is dissatisfied?
  • What if my company finds better technology?
  • Deployment "out-of-box" vs. time and cost of customization/configuration
  • Preparing and comparing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of all alternatives
  • Most overlooked critical fine print in software maintenance agreements
  • Vendor product roadmaps and commitment
  • What are the costs for post-implementation customization/configuration?
  • What qualifies as routine technical support vs. professional services fees?
  • Using uptime and support service level agreements to manage our relationship
  • How to qualify the reliability and security of a data center; SSAE 16 (formally SAS 70), Trustwave PCI Certification and SysTrust Compliance
  • Access to your data and rights in the cloud
  • Source code escrow rights and responsibilities
  • Termination clauses, contract term commitments, discounts and hidden fees
  • What happens if we have a disagreement? Mediation/arbitration or litigation?
  • What are the costs of additional modules and licenses purchased in the future?
  • What are license options for part-time usage?
  • Are customer case studies with business results achieved available?
  • Are your customer references compensated in any way?
  • How will our future feature requirements be obtained?
  • Will we have an Account Manager (i.e. one neck to squeeze)?
  • Are thirty-day supported production trials available without obligation?
  • How many new releases are provided per year?

This white paper series is now available for download:

"We listened to many companies struggle with the purchase process and they asked us for our help," said Ron Avignone, founder of Giva, Inc. "Penetrating questions are the most powerful way to uncover the truth. Those that can lead the questioning will have more influence in the relationship and set the tone. During the buying process, Giva has been asked these questions. We know that they are powerful and reveal the true character of a vendor."

About Giva:

Founded in 1999, Giva was among the first companies to provide a suite of applications specifically architected for the public cloud. Now, with over a decade of refinements including thousands of enhancements, the Giva Service Management™ Suite is the most customer feedback driven cloud computing suite for the ITIL Help Desk, Customer Service/Call Center and Service Desk. Visual reporting, management dashboards and a radically intuitive service request design, make the Giva Service Management™ Suite highly differentiated from all other solutions. Customizations are all point and click with no programming or consulting necessary so Giva delivers a substantially lower total cost of ownership solution. Giva is a private company headquartered in Santa Clara, California serving delighted customers worldwide.

PR contact:

Email: pr@givainc.com
Phone: 408.260.9000

IT Change Management Cloud Software

Change Management

Change Management ensures that the IT organization uses standardized methods and techniques for efficient and prompt handling of all changes in order to prevent change-related Incidents.

The Giva change management software allows users to raise Requests for Change (RFCs) to Change Management with the information of Known Errors so that the Change and Release processes can correct the errors, improve the infrastructure, and eliminate further Incidents.

Based on industry best practices, Giva eChangeManager provides control and management of the complete lifecycle of RFCs, including:

  • Acceptance
  • Classification
  • Approval and Planning
  • Coordination
  • Evaluation

Changes in the IT infrastructure may arise reactively in response to Problems or externally imposed requirements. Changes may also arise from the desire to improve IT efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, Changes can arise from new business initiatives or from programs, projects, or service improvement initiatives.

Giva eChangeManager can help you:

  • Ensure standardized methods, processes and procedures are used for all changes
  • Facilitate efficient and prompt handling of all changes
  • Maintain the proper balance between the need for change and the potential detrimental impact of changes

The Giva change management software assists the Change Management team to approve and control changes to all Configuration Items (CIs) in the live environment. Giva eChangeManager assists the Change Management team to:

  • Accept and classify RFCs
  • Assess the impact, cost, benefit, and risk of proposed changes
  • Develop business justification and obtain approval
  • Manage and coordinate change implementation
  • Monitor and report on the implementation
  • Review and close RFCs

More Entries